By John Lamm
Go for the chocolate, stay for the cars
To those of us who have been eating Hershey chocolate bars since we were 5¢, a visit to their hometown is like a Ferrarist’s journey to Maranello.
Other than the amusement park, it is a neat company town, rather like Kohler, Wisconsin. One of its crowns is The Hotel Hershey, a large elegant guest residence that looks down on what that great philanthropist Milton Hershey hath wrought.
Come mid-June each year, the hotel’s grounds are given over to a concours with a unique signature. The roll call runs to only 75 cars and the atmosphere is quite relaxed.
That’s on Sunday. Friday and Saturday are devoted to The Grand Ascent hillclimb. Okay, it’s only 7/10ths of a mile long with an elevation change of 200 feet, but the beauty of the circuit’s shortness is that there is always something new rumbling or roaring through woods. Great sounds, from ancient fours to Corvette V-8s rattling through the trees.
There’s a vintage feel to the Ascent, not just because of the age of race cars, but the relaxed attitude, the hay bale boundaries of the paved course. Both noisy and laid back.
By the time the judges hit the field on Sunday there’s already a good crowd milling about. Unlike some concours, the judging standards are loosely called French rules. Sounds a bit exotic and naughty, but really means the vehicles are viewed for their beauty, provenance and presence. Their stories and style. Condition, of course, but no concern about the authenticity of hose clamps and such.
Great fun talking with the owners and hearing their stories.
Come mid afternoon, it’s to the rear of the hotel for the prize giving…again nicely informal and relaxed. Enjoy our gallery for many of the cars shown at Hershey and wait until you get to the Best of Show…Clark Gable was its first owner.